Today's News

House Fire Claims Child’s Life

A two-year-old child is dead as a result of a Friday morning fire at a rural Starke County home. The Bass Lake Fire Department responded to a residence in the area of 700 South and 300 East just before 7:30 a.m. yesterday They pulled two adults from the blaze but were unable to find a two-year-old child in time. Continue reading

Knox House Fire Claims a Child’s Life

A two-year-old child is dead as a result of an early morning fire at a rural Starke County home. The Bass Lake Fire Department responded to a residence in the area of 700 South and 300 East just before 7:30 a.m. They pulled two adults from the blaze but were unable to find a two-year-old child in time. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Studying Morgue Options

The Starke County EMS base in Grovertown is one possible location for a county morgue.

The Starke County EMS base in Grovertown is one possible location for a county morgue.

The Starke County Commissioners have tasked coroner-elect Adam Gray with finding a suitable space for a morgue. He told the commissioners he needs a completely secure facility to house the county’s cooler and provide a viewing area for family members should an identification need to be made. Gray says the cooler needs 16 feet of clearance. He adds a 20-by-20 space with concrete floors and metal walls will be adequate to meet the county’s needs. The commissioners suggested adding on to the west side of the existing Starke County EMS building in Grovertown or possibly building on another parcel of county-owned land. EMS Director Keith Emigh notes the ambulance garage is a bare-bones facility and said pipes freeze in cold weather. Continue reading

Hit and Run Case Remains under Investigation

Detectives with the Starke County Sheriff’s Department continue to investigate a hit-and-run accident that resulted in the death of a Grovertown man.

Christopher Howard, 33, was last seen leaving a friend’s house at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16 in the area of 1025 E. and 50 N. in Starke County. He was reported missing that afternoon and officers found his vehicle in the area of 900 East and 500 North two hours later. Police noted in a press release that the car was involved in a collision and footprints were observed leaving the scene.

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Coroner Identifies U.S. 30 Crash Victim

One driver was killed and a second was injured in a Monday morning crash on U.S. 30 in Hamlet.

One driver was killed and a second was injured in a Monday morning crash on U.S. 30 in Hamlet.

A Hamlet man was killed instantly after the vehicle he was driving collided with a semi truck on U.S. 30 at Frontage Road in Hamlet late Monday morning. Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells says Lawrence Siegel, 72, died of massive blunt force trauma including head, neck, chest and internal injuries. Continue reading

One Driver Dies in Two Vehicle Accident in North Judson

Range Road wreckA semi vs. passenger car accident at the intersection of State Road 10 and Range Road just east of North Judson Monday morning resulted in fatal injuries.

Officers arrived at the scene shortly after 11 a.m. and found a semi tanker on its side engulfed in flames. The passenger car involved in the accident was located on the side of the roadway, according to the accident report. The driver was airlifted from the scene to South Bend Memorial Hospital where she later died of her injuries. The passenger and the semi driver were taken to IU Health Starke Hospital and later transferred to South Bend Memorial Hospital. Their medical conditions are unknown.

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Motorist Killed in Crash on U.S. 30

One driver was killed and a second was injured in a late morning crash on U.S. 30 in Hamlet.

One driver was killed and a second was injured in a late morning crash on U.S. 30 in Hamlet.

A tractor-trailer versus car crash on U.S. 30 in Hamlet late this morning claimed a life. The Starke County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Police and Hamlet Police Department are investigating the wreck. Continue reading

Starke County Coroner Releases Autopsy Results

Results of a forensic autopsy conducted in the case of 33-year-old Christopher Howard of Grovertown have been released by Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells.

He stated that Howard died instantly of multiple systems blunt force trauma, including massive head, chest and abdominal injuries.

An investigation by the Starke County Sheriff’s Department found that Howard was last seen leaving friend’s house at 2 a.m. on Tuesday in the area of 1025 E. and 50 N. in Starke County. He was reported missing on Tuesday afternoon. His vehicle was found in the area of 900 East and 500 North at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and it appeared to have been involved in a collision.

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County Officials Considering Uses for Existing Jail Building

starke-county-jail-outsideThe current Starke County Jail in downtown Knox will still be owned by the county and used for correctional programs once the new Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center east of Knox on State Road 8 opens next year. Commissioner Kathy Norem says the building is part of the collateral for the loan to build the new structure, so it cannot be sold or torn down and must be used in the justice arena. She says the county set aside money to renovate the building. Continue reading

Charges Expected Today Against Carjacking Suspect

Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff hopes to file formal charges today against the Knox man accused of stealing two cars and leading police on a high speed chase Friday afternoon. Police say Gary Chavez, 57, of Knox, commandeered the first car in the Mark Bailey’s Discount Center parking lot at 3:41 p.m. He switched vehicles in English Lake, according to authorities, and left the owner of the first stolen car behind when he took a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  Continue reading

Coroner Releases Preliminary Autopsy Results in Chavez Death

The estranged wife of the Knox man accused of stealing three vehicles and leading police on a high-speed chase through four counties Friday afternoon was murdered. Kimberly Chavez, 50, of Portage, was found dead Friday evening at the home of her estranged husband, Gary. Continue reading

Prosecutor Waiting for Autopsy Report Before Filing Charges Against Chavez

Starke County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 8, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

Starke County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 8, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

Starke County Prosecutor Nichoals Bourff does not anticipate filing charges against the Knox man police say stole two cars in Starke County and led them on a high-speed chase through four northwest Indiana counties until at least tomorrow. Gary Chavez, 57, of Knox is still in critical condition at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. He’s been there since Friday night after shooting himself in an apparent attempt to avoid arrest by police in Crown Point. They used stop sticks to flatten the tires on the truck Chavez was driving. Continue reading

Accused Carjacker Still Critical, Formal Charges Pending

Officers from the Crown Point Police Department used stop sticks to end a four-county high-speed chase Friday afternoon.

Officers from the Crown Point Police Department used stop sticks to end a four-county high-speed chase Friday afternoon.

The Knox man police say stole three vehicles and led officers from multiple departments on a high-speed chase through four counties Friday afternoon is still in critical condition at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. The pursuit started in Starke County when Gary Chavez, 57, of Knox, allegedly stole a car at gunpoint from the parking lot at Mark Bailey’s Discount Center. Continue reading

More Information Expected Today on Carjacking, Apparent Homicide

Starke County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 8, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

Starke County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about Friday’s carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

The Starke County Prosecutor’s Office expects to file formal charges today against the Knox man accused of stealing two cars in Starke County and leading police from multiple agencies on a high-speed chase through four counties Friday afternoon. Continue reading

Starke County Coroner Tentatively Identifies Apparent Homicide Victim

The apparent homicide victim found late Friday afternoon at a rural Knox home after a high speed chase that started with a carjacking at Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and ended with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Interstate 65 in Lake County has been tentatively identified. Continue reading

Starke County Sheriff’s Department Releases Accused Carjacker’s Name

Officers from the Crown Point Police Department used stop sticks to end a four-county high-speed chase.

Officers from the Crown Point Police Department used stop sticks to end a four-county high-speed chase.

Officials with the Starke County Sheriff’s Department have released the name of the man accused of stealing three vehicles and leading police from multiple agencies on a high-speed chase through Starke, LaPorte, Porter and Lake Counties Friday afternoon. Continue reading

Coroner Scheduling Autopsy for Apparent Homicide Victim

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells is scheduling a forensic autopsy for the victim of an apparent homicide at a California Township home. Investigators from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department found the woman late Friday afternoon after a high-speed chase that began with a carjacking at Mark Bailey’s Discount Center on State Road 10at 3:41 p.m.  and ended on Interstate 65 in Lake County when the suspect apparently shot himself after police deployed stop sticks to end the pursuit. He is in critical condition at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. Authorities have not released his name and will not do so until proper next of kin notifications are made. Continue reading

Cause and Manner of Death of Isaiah Grounds Released by Starke County Coroner

Isaiah Lincoln Grounds

Isaiah Lincoln Grounds

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells has released the cause and manner of death in the case of Isaiah Grounds.

A forensic autopsy was conducted at the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center in Fort Wayne by Forensic Pathologist Dr. Scott Wagner. Dr. Wagner determined that Grounds’ cause of death was a combined effect of acute blood loss from injuries consistent with a motor vehicle crash and cold exposure. The manner of death was accidental.

Grounds was reported missing on Dec. 12. He was last seen alive at the Grovertown Truckstop entering a vehicle in the early morning hours on Dec. 10. That vehicle was found abandoned following an accident at 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 10. A resident searching for Isaiah Grounds on horseback found his body a half mile from the accident scene on Dec. 23.

Rannells stated that no further details are being released at this time. An investigation is ongoing with the Indiana State Police along with the Starke County Sheriff’s Department.

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